CommUniversity creates a space where universities and communities can use their creative energies to develop innovative approaches to community development.

Freedom House driveway

What is CommUniversity?

Over the last 65 years, Freedom House has served as a hub for Boston’s diverse urban community and as a catalyst to promote equality and civil rights. Through it’s programs and actions, Freedom House has given generations of parents and young people the tools and strategies to effectively advocate for real and sustainable personal and community change.

Freedom House has sought to continue these efforts through a partnership with UMASS-Boston. The partnership resulted in CommUniversity, a program that transfers classroom learning into real-world change. CommUniversity pairs members of the community, college students, and high school students with experienced community leaders and organizers. The goal is to provide a forum to solve community problems through strategic action.

The ultimate goal of CommUniversity is to create a space where universities and communities can use their creative energies to develop innovative approaches to community development.

How does CommUniversity work?

We are partnering with UMASS-Boston’s College of Public and Community Service and Africana Studies Department to offer five college-level courses that are taught at Freedom House and open to members of the community:

  • Concepts of Communities provides a theoretical and contextual understanding of communities
  • Concepts of Social Justice provides a theoretical and conceptual framework for examining the core values of social and economic justice, and its meaning in the socioeconomic context of public and community service in the United States
  • Diversity and Cultural Competency explores the elements of diversity in communities including diversity in values, ideas and perspectives, and the interpersonal competencies required to work in and with communities
  • Media and Society provides a framework for understanding systems of communications that frame community discourse
  • Civic Engagement addresses the individual in community decision-making and community empowerment strategies for social change and societal transformation which provides students an opportunity to participate in civic engagement activities in a community setting
  • My definition of success is achieving your dreams, plain and simple. When you work hard, failed but got back up to what you wanted and got there, that is success.  Having a coach has been a benefit to me because my coach has kept me organized with what I need to do for school.  Graduating from college would mean the world to me.

    Ayanna WarfieldFreshman, Bunker Hill Community College
  • The PUSH Program not only helped me apply for college but also assisted me with books, connected me with resources, and guided me through my first year of college as an incoming freshman, but the help didn’t stop there. There were resources right on campus that I wouldn’t have utilized if it was not for the program’s assistance, including advising, tutoring, career centers, and student support centers.

    Nikela PorterSenior, UMASS-Boston
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